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Topics: PM in Academia, Schedule Management, Virtual Teams
Newbie: Suggestions for tool to manage educational projects
Looking for a specific tool idea related to managing education projects (think custom classes) where tasks and events (specific day/time) are integrated into the same project. A project includes specific tasks that need to be tracked but also includes specific events (class sessions to a specific date and time: scheduling). Integration with a calendar (Outlook/Gmail) needed...
Research so far has been challenging with the inclusion of specific events (day/time) being the major piece missing.

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I've used the same tools for education development that I use for just about any other project. It sounds like you just might not be using the common nomenclature. Events such as individual classes can be scheduled as milestones, with supporting events such as course material development, instructor training, student scheduling, etc. feeding into those milestones.

If you have multiple classes in the same project, that can be treated like multiple organization functional branches which each have their own lower tier schedule.
Thanks. We have not been able to make it work so far with any PM tool. The thought so far has been setting up a single milestone (call it CLASSES) then have each class session as a time/date specific task within the milestone. I'm pretty sure we are complicating it unnecessarily, but the idea is to have the classes listed specifically (say once-per-week on Tuesdays @ 5:00 pm) as a task, then have that individual class (i.e. task) show up on the specific resource calendar and in turn integrated into an individual's calendar dynamically...

I have used a role-based tool for large projects based on Deming's principles of Plan-Do-Check-Act principles. That is, 1) you can create, package and plan any object activities based on any type of database objects with multidimensional phases, work steps, etc. assign them to team members to do the activities, group activities by any dimension, then 2) do the activities, 3) check the activities and then 4) take action and conduct analysis including weighted progress.
There is no integration with external calendars or tools as it contains embedded indications of assigned activities.
The tool can be used for smaller projects too. Please contact me for more information.

I guess the pertinent question is what can't you make work? When I think of PM planning related to developing custom courses, from my experience working with our training department, the primary challenge is developing the courses. That requires eliciting the level of knowledge required on specific subject matter, defining course objectives, determining what it takes to reach those objectives (lecture, discussion, hands-on activities...) building the course material including lectures, documentation, demo environments and staged data, training the instructors (most won't be SMEs, preparing for each class) handouts, refreshing the demo environment, ensuring the rooms have the necessary facilities, and all the other work done by many people to have a class ready to schedule. Booking the classes is typically assigned to an administrative role on the team.

All of the above, I can manage in any tool similar to Project. I'm sure there is specialty software that can do the booking and meeting notices. My doctor uses stuff like that to send me appointment reminders but I haven't used any personally. When I have tools I need to integrate with outlook, like sending emails to people with action items, I leave that to our IT specialists who write code to build the program interfaces.

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